The upcoming agreement between SmackDown and the USA Network was supposed to begin next year but it’s actually starting in September this year. In light of that, the reason for SmackDown moving earlier than expected has been revealed.

NBCUniversal announced on Thursday that WWE SmackDown will move to the USA Network starting Friday, September 13, earlier than initially expected. This move comes after the announcement of a five-year deal between WWE and USA Network, set to take effect when SmackDown’s rights with FOX expire.

Originally, the shift was planned for October, but the earlier date coincides with changes in WWE programming on other networks: Raw is set to leave USA for Netflix in January, while NXT is scheduled to move to the CW Network in October.

In the latest edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer reported that FOX intended to move several September episodes of SmackDown to FS1 due to college football coverage. This prompted USA Network to step in and bring SmackDown over earlier, recognizing that it has a broader reach than FS1.


Seattle will host the return episode on September 13, which will feature a stacked card. NBCUniversal plans to promote the period from September 9 to 13 as “WWE Week,” with a range of programming including Fast & Furious movies featuring John Cena and The Rock, as well as “Blockers” starring Cena, and the “Bray Wyatt: Becoming Immortal” documentary. Meltzer also noted that SmackDown is expected to continue airing on Fridays after its move to USA Network.

”Smackdown will also be moving from FOX to USA a few weeks early. The FOX contract expires at the end of September, but FOX was going to move several September episodes to FS 1 due to college football, which is what it’s replacing Smackdown with. So USA agreed to debut the show on 9/13, which is a Friday. Seattle has been talked about a the location for the first show and of course in kicking off on a new station, the idea is to load up the show.”

We will have to wait and see whether Friday Night SmackDown returning to the USA Network will end up becoming the best deal WWE made for the blue brand so far.

Do you feel SmackDown’s deal with The USA Network is a great one for the company? Let us know in the comments section below!

Subhojeet Mukherjee

Subhojeet, a professional wrestling fan for over 20+ years, found his passion during the Monday Night Wars. With expertise honed over decades and a broad spectrum of interests including TV, movies, anime, novels, and music, he offers insightful analysis and coverage. Respected in the industry, Subhojeet keeps fans informed and engaged with his knowledge and perspective.

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